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Afghan forces provide medical treatment to more than 700 villagers

Bagram Air Base, December 12, 2007 (Gov of USA): Afghan and coalition forces treated more than 700 Afghans during a Dec. 7-8 medical outreach operation in Kandahar province.

The Afghan forces conducted a village medical outreach in Arghandab, treating hundreds of men, women and children.

"The (medical mission) … was an overwhelming success," an Afghan National Army soldier said. "We are trying to limit the Afghans' suffering."

While many boys and girls showed up for medical care, organizers were surprised to see many women seeking help as well. Historically, few women have attended medical outreaches in this area.

"Unlike previous (such missions) in Shah Wali Kot, the ratio of women to men treated was 1-to-1, which afforded the team the opportunity to better assess the situation in Arghandab from a woman's point of view," a coalition soldier explained.

Afghan soldiers, the Afghan National Police chief and the district chief handed out more than 2 tons of humanitarian supplies, including rice, beans, flour, cooking oil, salt, chai, shoes and winter clothing.

Afghan citizens expressed their delight while being treated by an Afghan National Army medic. "I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that I received free medication and food," a village elder said. "I am poor, so I cannot buy these things in the bazaar. Most people in Kandahar are just like me."

While serving the needs of Afghan civilians, the country's security forces always have an eye toward security because of insurgent activity in the area. "We mitigate this by working hand in hand with the (Afghan army and police) to ensure every possible security measure is implemented," a coalition soldier said.

The Afghan commander on the mission spoke of how much it meant to him to help the Afghan villagers.

"Even though there is a local clinic, it doesn't always have enough medicine available," he said. "I'm very pleased to provide this type of service to the locals, because most people in this area have never received this level of treatment."